By Odunewu Segun
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru said AMCON’s quick intervention by taking over the distress Arik Airline in February this year actually saved the airline from total collapse.
Kuru stated this at a news conference in Lagos on Friday while reviewing AMCON’s activities for the year.
He said that Arik Air outstanding debt was N147 billion, noting that the airline would have shut down if not for the intervention.
According to him, AMCON intervention made it possible for the airline to survive. He said that the airline was not paying salaries, insurances and fuel obligations, among others before AMCON intervention, adding that 30 aircraft of the company belonged to different people under leases and loans.
“AMCON has no business to run any business; we look for best personnel in the industry, independent of AMCON, to run any organisation we take over. We have disbursed more than N300 billion to support businesses to ensure their survival,” Kuru said.
Kuru also disclosed that the corporation recovered N134 billion in 2016. According to him, N86.9 billion was from cash collections while N30.64 billion came from assets forfeiture.
He said that N7.9 billion was realised from sale of property and N8.7 billion from sale of shares.
He said that the corporation would continue to engage its obligors to enhance loans recovery, adding that AMCON would welcome customers with strategies for loan repayment within a specific period of time.
“They are quite a lot of challenges we are facing in debt recovery; we are not under illusion that it is easy to recover bad loans. Loan recovery is a very unpleasant job.”
The managing director said that court cases were slowing down the corporation’s loan recovery drive. “Somebody can engage us for 10 years to 20 years in court and this is slowing down our operations.
He said that it was difficult for people to meet their obligations due to higher inflation rate, currency devaluation, and power sector challenges and drop in the price of crude oil, among others.
AMCON boss said that 2017 would be a better year with the ongoing economic recovery, noting that once the economy picked up, obligors willing to pay back loans, would pay.